The Clio Trophy France Terre returns for the season’s penultimate round on the Rallye Terre de Lozère. With a host of contenders vying for the crown, several experienced drivers returning and a multi-time world champion, the title race and the battle for an official programme promise to heat up in Mende !
This week, 29 crews will compete in what is already a decisive round for several contenders. With the worst result dropped at the end of the year, the fourth rally of the calendar will be, for many, the last chance to make up lost ground or score big points before the season-finale.
In this context, Jean-Sébastien Vigion heads to Lozère with the chance to seal his title on Sunday. With two wins and a fourth-place finish from three starts, the leader holds his destiny in his own hands. A win and a top-five finish in the Power Stage would put him beyond the reach of his pursuers. With Tom Pieri missing out the action as he continues to recover after his accident in Rouergue, Mattéo Chatillon will lead the chase group. Leading the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage classification, he will be looking to repeat his triumph of last year in Mende to take the lead in the Junior category, where a rally programme is on the cards for the future winner.
Other contenders will do their utmost to keep the title fight on the boil. Mika Rasoamaromaka and Benjamin Boulenc hope to confirm their rise in form by targeting another podium finish while Florian Condamines and Jean-Paul Monnin will be determined to make up lost ground in an event where their experience will be invaluable. Never out of the top ten this season, Baptiste Panissié will aim to get even closer to the leaders, a target shared with Anthony Rovina and Faniry Rasoamaromaka.
Two well-known competitors will make their first appearance of the year. Driver-preparer Yohan Saillat will give the model a go in its gravel specification after having had a taste of tarmac while 8-time WRC codriver champion Julien Ingrassia will share the steering wheel with Gilles De Turckheim, twelve years after their last start on the French special stages !
The battle promises to be intense throughout the field, with Jean Lavigne, Aurélien Devanthery, Christophe Truchet, Ludovic Casciani, Ludovic De Luca, Sylvain Tamisier and Alexandre Gransagne all looking to make a name for themselves. After his promising debut in the French Clio Rally5 trophies, Belgian Samuel Lay will try to confirm his potential, whilst Thomas Mouysset will benefit from all the know-how of his co-driver Thomas Chauffray, 2022 Clio Trophy France Asphalte title-winner.
Expected at the sharp end of the standings, Laurent Reuche could secure the honorary title in the Gentlemen category. Despite his retirement last time out in Aléria, the Swiss driver will try to exact revenge on his closest pursuers, Lilian Vialle, second in the class last year in Mende, and Nicolas Ressegaire, class winner in Corsica. After his solid performance 12 months ago, Emmanuel Guinchard will also be one to watch, as will Jean-Michel Da Cunha, 2019 French Rally Cup winner and newcomer to Clio Trophy France Terre.
Lastly, Déborah Marie and Inès Tamisier will battle for victory in the Women’s category to underline their continued progress. In their previous battle together on the 2022 Rallye Terre des Cardabelles, Déborah Marie won by 21.8s, but her rival is keen to regain the upper hand this week in Lozère.
In addition to the trophy, four Clio Rally3s will be starting the rally with privateers Jérôme Jacquot, Pierre Ragues, Christophe Rocard and Simon Heinemann. Quentin Ribaud, the first driver to win the Clio Trophy France Terre title, will also be in action as he returns to the official Clio Rally4 in Castrol livery with which he impressed in 2022 and at last weekend’s Rallye des 12 Travaux d’Hercule.
Based in Mende, the Rallye Terre de Lozère begins on Friday with the shakedown and scrutineering. On a similar route to last year, the first leg will offer two identical loops of three special stages before a Sunday made of two passes through Allenc and Le Born, which will host the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage putting bonus points on the line. The competitors will battle it out over 143.2 timed kilometres on a total route of 368.19 km, excluding recce laps.
#31 Jean-Sébastien Vigion – Amandine Borderie
#32 Mattéo Chatillon – Maxence Cornuau (J)
#33 Mika Rasoamaromaka – Bastien Pouget (J)
#34 Florian Condamines – Damien Jole
#35 Jean Paul Monnin – Franck Gilliot
#36 Baptiste Panissie – Gaël Lavernhe (J)
#37 Benjamin Boulenc – Chloé Barozzi-Gauze
#38 Laurent Reuche – Patrick Spart (G)
#39 Faniry Rasoamaromaka – Judicael Rakotomalala (J)
#40 Florian Bernardi – Loïc Declerck
#41 Anthony Rovina – Kylian Sarmezan (J)
#42 Julien Ingrassia – Gilles De Turckheim
#43 Jean Lavigne – Arnaud Cubizolles (J)
#44 Aurélien Devanthery – Gaël Delasoie
#45 Samuel Lay – Geoffrey Brion (J)
#46 Ludovic Casciani – Céline Cavallaro
#47 Jean-Michel Da Cunha – Bastien Dumas (G)
#48 Yohan Saillat – Marine Pelamourgues
#49 Alexandre Gransagne – Loïc Maurel
#50 Lilian Vialle – Manuel Ghirardello (G)
#51 Christophe Truchet – Barbara Truchet
#52 Ludovic De Luca – José Boyer
#53 Nicolas Ressegaire – Amandine Houry (G)
#54 Sylvain Tamisier – Mathieu Tamisier
#55 Emmanuel Guinchard – Kilian Guinchard (G)
#56 Thomas Mouysset – Thomas Chauffray (J)
#57 Clément Marchesini – TBA (J)
#58 Inès Tamisier – Laurent Tamisier (J,F)
#59 Déborah Marie – Tony Tranel (F)